Happy New Year, fellow Autoimmune Warriors!
2020 was certainly full of challenges and uncertainty, but to be honest, I will forever be grateful for being forced to slow down a bit and spend more time at home with my family. My twins are just 6 years old and still at the age where they actually want to play with me! So, I need to take full advantage of this moment in their lives.
I hope that you can also look back on 2020 and find things that you were thankful for.
What's your New Years' resolution??
Every January 1st inevitably brings this dreaded question! It’s a truly daunting question, and for many, their new years’ resolution is NOT to make any resolutions! And I don’t blame them… there’s often so many obstacles in the way - not enough time, not enough resources, not enough experience, not enough XYZ…. The list can be endless and seemingly insurmountable.
But making changes towards wellness doesn’t have to involve big, sweeping changes. In fact, small steps are easier to manage. Personally, I prefer to “tiptoe” towards wellness rather than leaping.
Researchers point to a few key factors that seem critical in helping people to make long-lasting changes: 
1. Set realistic goals
For example, if you haven’t gone for a walk for months or even years, chances are you won’t be able to stick to your goal of walking an hour every day. Instead, choose a goal that you can achieve – like taking a 10-minute walk, once a week.
It also helps to be very SPECIFIC about your goal. Your ultimate goal might be to “eat healthier”, but your current goal could be to: Add one serving of strawberries to breakfast every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. See how specific that was?!
To check if your goal is realistic, ask yourself: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident am I that I can achieve this goal?” (10 being absolutely confident). If your response is 9 or 10, then your goal is great! If it’s 8 or less, then adjust your goal to make it more likely that you can achieve it.
2. Monitor your progress
Try to keep a journal or record of your journey towards your goal.
For example, if you’re making changes to your diet, keeping a daily food diary can be helpful. Or, if you’re trying to get more sleep, invest in a sleep app on your smartphone to monitor how many hours of sleep you are getting.
Having a visual representation of your wellness journey can be very motivating.
3. Social support
Share your goal with someone you trust, whether it be a friend, family or health professional. Be sure to choose someone who will be supportive of your efforts. Better yet, work towards wellness goals together.
Some tiptoe ideas:
5 minutes of stretches in the morning (while waiting for your coffee to brew)
Drink an extra ½ glass of water a day (after you brush your teeth)
Write down one thing you’re thankful for (right before bed)
Add a sprinkle of frozen kale or broccoli sprouts when cooking
Reach out to a friend once a week (instead of scrolling through Instagram)
Put your smartphone down to charge 2 hours before bed (right after supper, and far from the bedside)
Sit down at a table and take a few deep breaths before eating your lunch
So…. What’s YOUR New Years’ resolution?!
Need a little extra support? Contact me to see how I can help.
P.S. Here's a resource you might find useful....
I recently discovered a book by prominent UK physician, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee – “Feel Better in 5 - Your Daily Plan to Feel Great for Life”, which I highly recommend. He similarly takes this approach of taking smaller steps towards wellness and calls these daily steps “health snacks” (I love this term!).
If you’re looking for ideas, his book is chock-full of simple suggestions for “health snacks” to nourish the mind, body and heart, including exercises, gut-friendly snacks, self-kindness activities, and more.
When making wellness changes, Dr. Chatterjee recommends that you:
Start easy (ie. set realistic goals – see above),
Connect each new action with an existing habit (ie. 5-min exercise while waiting for your tea to steep),
Respect your daily rhythm (ie. don’t force yourself to exercise after work when you’re the most tired),
Adjust your environment to enhance success (ie. keep exercise weights next to the kettle),
Use positive self-talk (ie. speak kindly to yourself and don’t be critical), and
Celebrate your success (ie. stars on the calendar for each successful “health snack”).
If you're interested, here’s a link to his book on Amazon*: https://amzn.to/3b5r5Om Also, here’s a link to a great podcast where I first heard Dr. Chatterjee speak and about his book: https://drhyman.com/blog/2020/09/02/podcast-ep133/
*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases
Reference: 1. Samdal GB et al. 2017. doi:10.1186/s12966-017-0494-y